What is the perfect hunting property and what should I know before I purchase? There are so many variables in that question but also many similarities. What you consider the perfect hunting property may be 100% different from what I consider a perfect property. However, these things should be considered before purchasing your – proverbial slice of heaven.
What can you afford? Not what can you borrow, what can you afford? Purchasing land, regardless of whether it is 10 acres or 1000 acres, may be one of the largest investments you will ever make. Defining your budget before your search begins is an essential factor to predetermine. Finding a piece of property that you love but cannot afford will force you to compare affordable properties with those out of reach. This could make you think the affordable property is mediocre and you may miss an opportunity on a great affordable property. Be honest with yourself and set a budget for what you can afford.
Potential Herd Quality
Can the property produce and hold quality deer? Most individuals cannot own enough land for deer to live exclusively on their property. I prefer to have quality land to quantity. You do not need to own a whole section of land to produce quality bucks. Ideally, you need good habitat, oaks and hardwoods, bedding opportunities, water, and a year-round food source. Deer cannot live by food alone; water is essential, and properties with ponds, creeks, rivers and springs are a haven for deer and other wildlife. Swamp and marsh areas can also provide water, as well as cover. Having a 20 acre tract or smaller in the right location may pay big dividends. Personally, I killed my largest buck on a 15 acre wooded parcel surrounded by agriculture fields. Remember quality over quantity!
Do the surrounding landowners actively manage hunting? The old saying, good fences make good neighbors is true but; it is critical to build good relationships with your neighbors and try to work together on a management plan. Harvesting mature bucks is usually a collaborate effort with neighboring property owners. The ideal situation would be that you and your neighbors work together and allow deer to reach maturity or take “management” bucks to remove bad genetics. Usually three years of good deer management can and will completely change and improve the quality of deer seen on the property.
Accessibility is another key factor. When I am looking at properties I think, where do I park, can I get equipment in and out, is there an established trail system, prevailing wind direction, will I be able to get to the stand locations undetected, drive time to and from the property, and the availability of nearby supplies. All of these factors and more should play a big part in your decision to purchase.
Before you decide to put in an offer on a property, investigate the surrounding landowners and try to meet them. Use all of your resources to research the property, topography maps and the local county GIS page will allow you to see the property and its demographics. Walk the property with a qualified land specialist and ask many questions. A qualified land specialist should be able to tell you the soil quality, approximate timber value, property tax burden, assessed value, etc. Write your questions down and ask them, remember this is a big investment and you do not want any surprises or disappointments.
It’s no secret that owning your own hunting land gives you the freedom to manage the deer on the property as you see fit: plant food plots, plant or cut trees, let the young bucks walk, choose who you let hunt, set your stands wherever you want — the list goes on. There is also the added bonus of having the property during the off-season; perfect for camping, hiking, small game hunting, fishing, and family excursions. Before you purchase do your homework and do not settle for a property you really do not want! Be patient, save your money, and you will own your slice of heaven!